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Edme's malt products.

Edme's Malt Products

Over the past 10 years attitudes towards food and bakery products have changed considerably. Greater awareness of the so-called "nutritional diseases of affluence" - obesity, heart disease and high blood pressure, and growing concern about the use and effects of additives have resulted in greater consumer interest in natural food products.

The bakery industry in particular has been affected by these trends. Demand for brown, malt and wholegrain bread mixes and ingredients has increased significantly, and their popularity seems set to continue. White bread is still the "family favourite" but tastes are changing towards speciality products with a good nutritional image, particularly with the influence of more continental breads in the British marketplace.

Edme Ltd, the Essex-based malt and cereal processors are one company that has been keeping pace with these changes. As their traditional brewery market declined, the company examined the possibility of diversification and found a niche market in supplying natural ingredients to the food and bakery industry. Investment in new plant and machinery, and the expansion of their R & D section has been given high priority. This has increased the flexibility of their manufacturing operations, which has facilities for milling, kibbling, mixing, flaking, malting and micronising. The company produce a wide range of malted and non malted flours, premixes, cereal flakes and extracts, and can supply products tailored to a client's specific needs.

Edme, a producer of liquid malt extracts for over 100 years, is still at the forefront of this technology.

Traditionally, extracts were used by the brewing industry but today markets exist in a variety of food manufacturing areas, from biscuits to breakfast cereal.

The original processing method is still used and starts with the selection and milling of a barley malt. This is then mixed with water at a controlled temperature and allowed to stand for several hours in a mash tun, a large round vessel with a perforated base. "Mashing", as it is called, allows the enzymes present in the mixture to break down starches into the shorter chain sugars, predominantly maltose. The resultant liquid "wort" is drained through the perforated base of the vat and transferred to evaporators, where it is reduced to a syrup of around 80 per cent solids content.

Variations in production determine the enzyme and sugar levels in extracts. Very simply, low temperature mashing results in a high activity, high maltose syrup and hotter mashing in a highly flavoured extract.

Low diastatic syrups are used in baking at an inclusion rate of about 3 per cent. These add flavour and the combination of maltose sugars with protein helps to promote the Maillard reaction, a natural browning reaction which promotes crust colour development. Enzyme active, or diastatic extracts, are used, amongst other things, to control the viscosity of starch in the breakfast cereal extrusion process and by glucose syrup manufacturers.

Traditional malt extracts are dark, viscous syrups often used as a natural colouring agent in foods and beverages. In some products cloudiness has prevented the use of malt extract. To solve this problem, Edme has spent 250,000 [pounds] on the development of a unique clear malt extract production process. The product has a similar flavour profile to traditional extracts but without a bitter aftertaste and, on dilution with water, produces a clear, bright liquid.

Thus, food manufacturers can now utilise the unique flavour of malt in a range of products, including soft drinks, spreads, ice cream and dessert topping, where a lack of clarity had been an obstacle in the past.

In bread production, malt flours can be used as an alternative to liquid malt extract. High diastatic flours tend to be lighter in colour and can be used to add natural enzymes to bread dough, improving the bloom, texture and flavour of the final product.

Dark malt flours have a low diastatic activity, due to the level of roasting required to achieve their colour, and a strong flavour profile. This means they can be used at virtually any level of inclusion without creating problems of dough stickiness associated with diastase activity.

Edme produce a range of traditional malt flours but have also developed two new flours, Flavamax and Maltimax, which have a strong malt flavour but low colour and diastatic activity. These can be used at inclusion rates of between 8 and 10 per cent, providing a healthy malted version of white bread with negligible colour increase.

Recent reports show that purchase motivation, while still strong on health products, is also moving towards bread quality and value added products. In line with this trend, cereal flakes are increasingly used to add taste, texture and fibre content to bread.

Edme's flaking plant has been expanded and now operates as a fully integrated, continuous production system, capable of producing several thousand tonnes of product annually.

Malted flakes are produced by steam cooking whole malt grains. These are then flattened through heated rollers and toasted on a continuous microniser. The considerable heat involved in this process dries the flakes and, as well as building in flavour, also ensures that the final product has a low diastatic activity that is necessary for use in bakery products manufactured under normal bread production methods. Before packaging, all flakes are sieved to ensure very little fine material and flour remain.

Malted oat flakes are proving particularly successful, following publication of the US research which connects oat fibre with the prevention and reduction of blood cholesterol and hence heart disease.

Looking to the future, Edme aim to develop their export market. They are already well established in Europe, which takes about 20 per cent of their current production. Expenditure has been allocated to research and development and factory expansion, with the intention of increasing the variety of products offered in line with demand for more speciality and continental breads.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Food Trade Press Ltd.
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Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:natural food bakery
Publication:Food Trade Review
Date:Jul 1, 1989
Previous Article:Stratford-upon-Avon Foods meeting the challenge of the 1990's.
Next Article:Taking baking powder into the nineties.

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